My husband works from home in an office on the opposite side of the house from my home office. Maria goes to school full-time. So, most days, it is supremely quiet at my house.
When I first quit my reporting job, the stillness at home -- even with a then-toddler in it -- was a bit disturbing for me, an extrovert used to an extremely loud working environment. Eventually though, I came to love the silence and the freedom of working by myself, at my own pace.
So, imagine the rocking my world took this week: My daughter had a week off from school, my husband was on furlough, and my father is visiting from Miami. That makes three high-energy and loud people in my space for a week. Worse: The little one had a horrible runny nose and the husband announced it was Spring Cleaning Week! (My dad is easy and good, but he walks around in a Santa hat for no apparent reason).
Last Monday I thought next Monday could not come soon enough. When I told friends my husband said "we'" were spring cleaning, they thought it meant only I would do it. Oh no. The guy knows his way around a mop and when he's working, we're all working. Even the kid. So, we've triple-mopped floors, dusted the top of doors, cleaned out closets and shook out rugs. Maria has helped. She has vacuumed, wiped windows, dusted my shoes -- and, tried them on, of course.
It has been a blast for her because she loves to help. Her most common refrains are: "What can I do?'' and "Can I help you?" She is her father's daughter, for sure.
But I think what she's loved about the week most is the access granted her to my tackle boxes filled with costume jewelry.
As I cleaned out my closet she sat on the carpet, pulling each and every bracelet, ring and earring out.
"Mama, can this be mine one day?''
"Mama, I looooovvve this! Can I wear this one day?''
"Mama, how come you never wear these? Can I have them?''
I assured her each and every shiny bauble will be hers. I told her a little about them: That one I bought in the Village in 1989; that one belonged to your great-grandma who loved big rings; those earrings hurt my ears, but they're cool we keep them.
At one point, I looked down from my sweater-sorting and she had 10 rings on 10 fingers.
"Look at me, Mama!''
She ran toward her father and grandfather to show them her glitzy fingers.
And then my husband reminded me of a conversation we had when I was pregnant and announced I wanted a son.
"But, if we have a boy, who is going to inherit all your costume jewelry?'' my husband had said.
So true, but let me tell you this: While a son may not have found joy in the jewels, if he was anything like his father, he definitely would have known his way around a mop.